It should be noted that all the prohibited activities addressed by the CPA that I am about to discuss, are linked to marketing, and the latter is defined as including ‘promote and supply’. These two concepts, once you read it with all the relevant definitions and associated words, are very wide i.e.
- ‘promote’ includes ‘advertise, display or offer to supply’
- ‘supply’ includes providing goods as well as perform or ‘cause them to be performed or provided, or to grant access to any premises, event, activity or facility’
- ‘advertisement’ includes ‘any direct or indirect visual or oral communication transmitted by any medium’
- ‘premises’ includes ‘land, building and vehicle’.
It means the prohibited activities pertain to most of the matters attended to daily in the travel, tourism and related industries such as incentives and events. You should objectively vet all your promotional avenues, materials and sales methodology to ensure that you do not fall foul of any of the prohibitions. The best way to do this is to list all the documents and systems that form part of your critical transactional path (‘CTP’) and go through them with sales and marketing. This would include all advertisements (print and audio), websites, social media as well as the actual consultation process with the customer.
Here is a summary of the relevant sections of the CPA namely 29, 40 and 41 – i.e. your promotion and supply must not:
- be ‘misleading, fraudulent or deceptive’ re ‘nature, property, use, price, advantages’ or ‘any material aspect’
- be ‘shock conscience’
- be ‘unethical or improper’
- amount to ‘coercion, undue influence, pressure, duress or harassment, unfair tactics’
- use ‘exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity’.
Finally you must not (section 41) ‘fail to correct any apparent misapprehension’ the consumer may have – this entails conducting a detailed inquisitive sales process with the customer, ‘double checking’ and adapting your website accordingly.
Consultants must be trained to be aware and avoid all of the above, whether directly or indirectly.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a brief overview of legal matters pertaining to the travel and tourism industry and is not intended as legal advice. As every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances, professional advice should be sought in each instance.
© Adv Louis Nel, BENCHMARK, October 2012.